Work has come to a full stop on a number of Durham Region and Oshawa, Ont. road projects due to a labour dispute.
Labourers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 183 recently issued a strike notice against Oshawa signatory contractors.
"Some contractors, site staff were discussing the potential on Monday (June 19) and were making some quiet preparations in the event of a strike but we couldn’t get any real confirmation even from principals of these construction companies or even the (LIUNA) Local 183 on their website," explained Dan Waechter, construction manager for the Region of Durham’s works department. "That confirmation came later that evening on the 20 when it was posted on the (LIUNA) website and the action began on the morning of the 21."
Due to the labour disruption, several Region of Durham and City of Oshawa road construction projects have stopped and there may be a delay in the construction schedules and timelines if the strike continues. Other construction projects within Oshawa’s city limits, including provincial projects, may be affected by the work stoppage as well.
"We don’t know all of the details but we believe it’s related to their collective agreement with the union staff and these contractors," said Waechter. "I believe they are working on that collective agreement and we hope that there will be a resolution soon."
The union represents contract workers in the paving industry employed by Coco Paving and other companies. This labour disruption does not involve Durham Region or City of Oshawa employees.
Construction projects in Oshawa that employ unionized contractors, including year-over-year road maintenance projects and construction within new subdivision and site plan developments, may also be impacted.
"Any one of our projects that involves LIUNA workers or members are affected at this point," explained Anthony Ambra, the manager of design and construction services at the City of Oshawa. "Currently, we have two active projects that are delayed. Some that are presently in the process of being awarded may be delayed because they involve LIUNA members also. We also have projects that are in the process of being tendered and I can’t comment on whether or not those would be impacted at this point."
Initially when the strike began, there were seven Region of Durham projects from two contractors affected, Waechter noted, adding the contractors were Brennan Paving (a division of Miller Paving) and Coco Paving. He said there seems to be some resolution with respect to Brennan Paving but contracts with Coco Paving are still affected, as of June 22, and currently Coco Paving has three projects with the region.
"The effect is quite limited," said Waechter. "It’s only affecting work to date from one contractor, so currently only three regional road construction projects are affected. Work has stopped at those three sites. We anticipate work won’t resume until the labour disruption is resolved. It has no effect on the other construction projects in the region."
The region also anticipates the effect on local residents will be minimal.
"We are monitoring those sites that are affected daily to ensure the compliance with the Traffic Protection Plan, ensure that each site is maintained and the safety of the pedestrians, cyclists and drivers is ensured," said Waechter. "We are updating our website regularly.
"If there is any maintenance required at these sites, the management staff from the affected contractor has confirmed that they will provide any maintenance that is required and failing that, our staff would provide any maintenance required at the site. So really there is no real impact to the residents other than if this strike does continue there will be some delay in the project schedules."
One of the most important first steps for the City of Oshawa was also to ensure the sites were secure for local residents and business owners.
"When we were told about the impending job action, we worked with the contractors to ensure that the project sites were safe for pedestrians and vehicular access," said Ambra. "Since then our construction inspectors are regularly monitoring the sites and the contractors have admitted to monitoring the sites and rectifying any safety concerns that are identified."
The City of Oshawa has also been updating its website and making efforts to keep residents and business owners up to date.
"We delivered notice to the directly impacted residents on projects that were adjacent to their properties so they received notice," said Ambra.
The labour disruption with LIUNA Local 183 in Durham Region is affecting a number of regional and local road projects.
The following regional projects will be affected:
• Mara Road Reconstruction in Beaverton in Brock Township;
• Brock Road and Highway 2 BRT in the City of Pickering; and
• Regional Road 57 from Regional Road 3 to Regional Road 20 in the Municipality of Clarington.
The City of Oshawa road reconstruction and pavement preservation projects will also be affected in the following areas:
• Carswell Avenue;
• Eastwood Avenue;
• Herbert Avenue;
• Phillip Murray Avenue from Park Road South to Paul Street;
• Renaissance Drive from Stevenson Road South to Connery Crescent;
• Connery Crescent from Renaissance Drive to Renaissance Drive;
• Westmount Street from Pine Avenue to King Street West;
• Douglas Street from Conant Street to Annis Street;
• Rowena Street from Wolfe Street to Conant Street;
• Attersley Drive from Rossland Road East to Cobblehill Drive/Trailbridge Crescent;
• Fenelon Crescent; and
• Conlin Road from Stevenson Road North to Founders Drive.